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HMS Nottingham Bows Out

Commander Andrew Price, the ship’s Commanding Officer at decommissioning ceremony to mark the end of HMS Nottingham’s 30-year Royal Navy career.
Former commanding officers and the ships sponser Mrs Henrietta Wood
Decommissioning ceremony to mark the end of HMS Nottingham’s 30-year Royal Navy career.

A decommissioning ceremony to mark the end of HMS Nottingham’s 30-year Royal Navy career was held at Portsmouth Naval Base today (February 11).

The Type 42 destroyer had clocked up almost 700,000 nautical miles on operations across the globe.

The Navy is replacing its ageing Type 42s with the far more capable Type 45 Daring class of destroyers. The first of the class – HMS Daring – made her first entry to her Portsmouth home in January last year HMS Dauntless followed in December. Sister ships HMS Diamond, Dragon, Defender and Duncan are at various stages of build and will all enter service progressively through to the middle of the decade.

Among the guests at HMS Nottingham’s decommissioning was former First Sea Lord Sir Henry Leach whose wife, Lady Leach, launched the ship in February 1980. Their daughter, Henrietta Wood, who is the ship’s sponsor, was also present along with many of the ship’s 15 former Commanding Officers. Representatives of her affiliate organisations from the city of Nottingham also attended.

The decommissioning service was conducted by Naval chaplain the Reverend Ralph Barber, with musical accompaniment by The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, HMS Collingwood.

The hour-long ceremony was rounded off in traditional RN fashion with the ceremonial cutting of a decommissioning cake. Performing the task was Mrs Wood and 18 year-old Engineering Technician James Deeley, the youngest sailor on board.

Commander Andrew Price, the ship’s Commanding Officer, said:

“HMS Nottingham has served the Royal Navy proud since she was launched in 1980, serving throughout the world. My time as Commanding Officer has been one of the highlights of my Naval career. Today is tinged with sadness as the ship’s career comes to an end, but the new class of highly-capable Type 45 destroyers represent a step change in technology relevant for the modern world.”

HMS Nottingham – the sixth ship to bear the name - was built at Vosper Thornycroft in Southampton and launched on February 18 1980. Early deployments saw her sail to the South Atlantic, Far East and Persian Gulf.

On July 23 1984 she was granted the Freedom of the City of Nottingham and since then has maintained close links with its charities, hospitals and schools.

In November 1996 HMS Nottingham became the first UK warship to visit the Black Sea port of Poti in 75 years. Her stay coincided with ‘British Week’ held at the Georgian capital of Tblisi which promoted British products and culture.

During a deployment to the Far East in 2002 HMS Nottingham hit a rock off the coast of Australia. She returned to sea in 2004 following an 18-month repair programme.

In June 2006 Nottingham returned from six months of counter-terrorism and maritime security patrols in the Mediterranean, working alongside five other NATO nations. She trained and operated with two ships from the Russian Federation – the first time ships from that nation had been involved with training for multi-force anti-terrorism operations.

The ship returned from her final deployment, patrolling the South Atlantic, in April 2008.